Friday, February 18, 2011

Yup. It's Gonna Be HARD.

The federal deficit is obscene but the states are in worse shape... which is no big secret to anyone who's been paying even the slightest bit of attention.  While California and New York garner the most attention as the poster children for the states' fiscal woes, things blew up yesterday in Wisconsin.  From the WSJ:
MADISON, Wis.—Democratic lawmakers fled the state in an effort to torpedo a closely watched vote on what would be the nation's first major overhaul of union laws in years, as government workers flooded the statehouse for a third day seeking to block passage of the bill.

Surrounded by thousands of tightly packed protesters, including teachers who had been encouraged by union leaders to show up in force, state senators gathered around 11 a.m. to vote on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to limit collective-bargaining rights for most state employees. 
The governor's proposal, part of a bill aimed at overcoming a $137 million deficit in the current budget and a projected $3.6 billion hole in the next two years, would allow collective bargaining on wages, but not pensions and health care. Workers would be required to pay more for both. And raises would be limited to the inflation rate, unless voters approved steeper boosts.
All that sounds pretty reasonable to me... and there's more detail at the link... but not to the public employees unions, most specifically the teachers unions, who are engaged in Academy Award level histrionics worthy of a "Best Performance By Spoiled Brats" Oscar, if there were such a thing.  And they're doing so on the taxpayers dime, too, and that's the most sickening part of the whole thing.  The WSJ, again:
The drama disrupted schools across the state, as thousands of teachers called in sick to attend the protests. Public schools were closed in Madison, La Crosse, Racine and Wausau.

Patrick Gasper, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the state's education agency, said he didn't have a statewide tally of closures among the state's 424 school districts, which educate 872,000 students. But he said, "They're all over." 

He added that some districts could have to add days at the end of the year to meet state requirements for days and hours of instruction. School officials in Milwaukee said missing work without a valid excuse would "leave teachers open to disciplinary action." 
"Disciplinary action" prolly means a letter of reprimand or a similar slap on the wrist.  I'm thinking wholesale firings, a la Reagan/PATCO would be more appropriate, but that's just me.  I read elsewhere that an estimated 60% of the teachers in some Wisconsin districts called in sick in order to attend the protests.  That is nothing short of despicable and speaks to the self-serving nature of teachers unions.  But, Hey.  They're entitled, not to mention privileged.  Check out these figures: 
In May 2009, preschool teachers in Wisconsin earned an average salary of $23,460, elementary school teachers earned $51,240, and secondary school teachers earned $49,400. (2) Education and experience level also make a difference in teacher salaries: secondary school teachers in the 90th wage percentile earned $69,550, while the entry-level teacher salary is generally in the $30,000s. (3)

Geographic location is another significant reason for variation in Wisconsin teaching salaries. Areas that have a higher cost of living often pay correspondingly higher salaries. Below are average annual earnings for secondary school teachers in five of the largest metropolitan areas in the state: (4)

  • Green Bay: $55,110
  • Kenosha: $68,400
  • Madison: $50,770
  • Milwaukee: $54,620
  • Racine: $49,710
I got those numbers from Wisconsin Teaching Salaries, via a link from Michelle Malkin.  That's pretty good money for folks who only work nine or nine and a half months out of any given year and receive benefits in excess of what private sector employees receive, yet they turn out by the thousands to protest.  On school time, no less. 

Just briefly: note the civil tone of the protesters (the image I used above is NOT from the WSJ).  A lot's been said about THAT, and I'm one of mebbe thousands of bloggers on the right to post this:

So, yeah... fixing our fiscal situation is gonna be very, very difficult if this is any indication of the sort of resistance the states will face.  And you KNOW it is.  Unions,  especially public-sector unions, have most definitely outlived their usefulness and have turned into left-wing organizations who have a "Fuck you, I got mine and I'm gonna keep it" attitude.  Who'd a thunk it?

Much, much more at memeorandum.  The link contains all articles on the subject as of 2230 hrs EST Thursday evening.


  1. When I started teaching in 1983, Toby’s secretary who had no education made more money than I did. I still did not want to join a union, but to get lawyer insurance, in case of lawsuits, you had to join. The NEA is big money and lots of power, but they have outlived their usefulness. You know I could rant for a while on education. Throw in unions and I become a slobbering mess of madness.

  2. Welcome to our world. Thatcher did her level best to roll back union power which she achieved to a large degree and its time you guys did the same. So saying we still have some lingering issues with the Unions where they remain powerful, not least in teaching and perhaps worse of all where they bankroll Labour. Seems to me though that this government will carry on regardless of their views for the simple reason that there's no more money. Unions act like bullying thugs in a way that the original capitalist leaders they were set up to protect themselves from aint got nothing on this lot..

  3. Labor Unions, one of the reasons our manufacturers moved out of the U.S. The big O keeps talking about jobs for the poeple, what jobs?!
    Look no further than the state of Michigan to see what has happened there as the result of the unions.
    Buck, I certainly agree with the points you made in your blog.
    Teachers should be paid a decent and livable wage, but this is pure greed being shown by them and their union.

  4. But they're doing it "for the children!".

    Unions. Ya can't live with them, ya ca't blow them up with a fertilizer bomb.

    Please pardon the violent, vitriolic rhetoric.

  5. My friend is a teacher. Not a school head. Just a plain teacher. Her take home pay is £65,000 a year. £65k ...of tax payers money! For a job that lasts from 9.30 til 4.30 plus an hour for marking and where she gets about 20 weeks off a year on FULL PAY.

  6. Yeah, Bubba.

    This is just the beginning, I think. As you know, it's going on in Ohio and Indiana as well, and the Obamabots are being backed and encouraged by the White House (via Organizing for America) in all cases. It ain't about teachers, it's about unions, and the debt owed them by the Left wing of the Dem party.

    When it's gotten to the point that it's noticed by the WSJ, I don't think it's gonna go away - but I do think that union thuggery is gonna increase, and sooner or later somebody's gonna answer it. Whew.

    We live in interesting times, no?

  7. You know I could rant for a while on education. Throw in unions and I become a slobbering mess of madness.

    I KNOW, Lou. And you're 100% correct, too.

    Alison: I had the pleasure of watching Dame Maggie kick the shit out o' the unions first hand. I subscribed to the Guardian in those days coz I was still something of a Leftie... being as how I was going thru my conversion at the time. Mrs. Thatcher made a LOT of sense and the gnashing and thrashing on the Left... as documented daily in the Guardian was simply incredible. I only wish America and Britain could have her back again.

    And your friend makes DAMNED good money!

    ED: The unions weren't the only reason the Big Three... and Dee-troit... died; clue-free management that acquiesced to their every demand are/were just as guilty. But like the kids say on the playground: "HE started it!"

    Please pardon the violent, vitriolic rhetoric.

    RACIST! ;-)

    We live in interesting times, no?

    Yes. Unfortunately.

  8. When I went to high school, we had five kids drop out to join the Marines and go to Vietnam.

    The last statistics (2008) was 84 dropouts of 450 total students.

    24 of the dropouts were pregnant. That means 60 will soon be criminals, because there are no factory jobs anymore, and the Marine Corps doesn't want them.

    That right there is America in a petri dish.

  9. That means 60 will soon be criminals...

    So true and SO sad. The only alternative for drop-outs is Mickey Dee's and even they're sorta selective now... depending on where you live.

  10. We're going to see some screaming here in Minnesota, too. Like Wisconsin, we tossed out the Democrat majorities in the legislature. But unlike the cheeseheads, we elected a depressive alcoholic dilettante as governor. He promised the unions more, more and more, and their money combined with his inheritance bought his win.

    He wants to tax the rich. The legislature will not approve a tax increase. They're about 5 billion apart right now. Come April, there should be a very interesting showdown.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.